Cities all over the world are facing rapidly increasing congestion and pollution. Andreas, a Consultant for Transportation in Denmark, faces these challenges head-on with a creative community solution using existing public transport systems.
What is 'Crowdsourcing Logistics in Cities’?
It's an Industrial PhD project I'm involved in that looks at the role public transport can play in delivering packages. 40% of goods' total transport emissions are made during 'Last Mile Delivery' – moving them from transport hubs to their final destination.
What if we replaced some of these deliveries with public transport journeys? As well as reducing traffic to and through central parts of cities, delivery through our Crowdshipping platform would also mean significant financial savings!
How would it actually work?
The concept covers E-commerce deliveries to private consumers. We place Automated Package Lockers (APLs) at selected public transport stations. We also register regular passengers who'd like to become delivery agents or 'Crowdshippers'. Our App will notify them when packages match the route of their journey. Every time they drop a parcel off at their matching destination, they earn credits to use on the transit system.
We're incredibly excited about this idea as it's good for people, planet and profit.
And you've just completed a pilot – tell us all about it.
Between 2 September and 30 October 2020, we placed 22 APLs at stations throughout the greater Copenhagen area and six in Northern Jutland. We collaborated with local municipalities, the Danish rail operator, and Nordic Infrastructure, which is part-owned by the Danish postal service. I'm proud to say it was the world's first public transport-based Crowdshipping pilot, and it went very well!
How did the Crowdshippers feel about the pilot?
My research, distributed via Epinion in the Capital Region, showed people really wanted to be a part of the programme. And, this was confirmed by the pilot. We had 950 people sign up as Crowdshippers. Unfortunately, Denmark went into COVID-19 lockdown at the same time as our pilot launched, so we had 360 App downloads. But our participants were brilliant, transporting 900 parcels in total. Crowdshippers said in a post-pilot survey that they took pride in doing their bit to make their city greener and felt even more motivated after the experience!
How was it possible for ordinary members of the public to work as an efficient delivery service?
We developed an App that was crucial support for the Crowdshippers. And it worked very smoothly, allowing them to book parcels matching their trips and open APL rooms using Bluetooth. The Crowdshippers also felt valued and rewarded, receiving gift-certificates per package delivered.
How is AtkinsRéalis involved in this exciting programme?
Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, is managing the project from end to end – from facilitating stakeholder collaborations to developing the App, solving foreign exchange, and maximizing deliveries through nudging and gamification.